O work, led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and with the help of several international institutes, aimed to examine the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in addition to the internal review that the The UN itself also launched it, after Israel accused the organization’s workers of being linked to the attacks by the Islamist group Hamas on October 7, which caused a wave of criticism and the withdrawal of funds from the organization.

These accusations date back to March, when, as the report recalls, Israel accused “a significant number” of UNRWA workers of “being members of terrorist organizations.”

“However, Israel has not provided any evidence to support this accusation,” reads the report, which was drawn up based on meetings with all parties, including the Israeli government.

The accusations led 16 countries to suspend or freeze funding, depriving UNRWA of 450 million dollars (almost 423 million euros) and threatening the continuity of its operations, both in the Gaza Strip and in other areas of the region where refugees are also present. Palestinians.

“In the absence of a political solution between Israel and the Palestinians”, the group emphasizes that the agency’s work is “irreplaceable and indispensable” in several social areas, namely education and health care.

“Many see UNRWA as a humanitarian lifeline,” he says.

In its case, and unlike what happens with other UN agencies, specific challenges persist that complicate the “neutrality” that is presupposed for an organization of this type, not least because the majority of its staff are local and may even be beneficiaries of aid. provided by the agency itself.

UNRWA has created a “robust” framework to try to detect possible violations of this neutrality, but researchers consider that there is room for improvement in terms of the political opinions that employees express publicly or the “problematic content” of some school textbooks, among other areas.

The report calls for greater oversight and stricter disciplinary processes for staff, as well as continued respect for the civil character of facilities and the omission of ideological biases in UNRWA schools, reviewing the content of material and prohibiting any hate speech or “anti-Semitic references”.

Experts also call for greater transparency towards donors and an improvement in UNRWA’s internal structure, including the office responsible for analyzing ethical issues.

They also call for limiting the work of unions, a gateway for “political factions” to exert pressure on management – “the politicization of unions is considered one of the most sensitive neutrality issues”, they state.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, thanked Colonna and his team for the work carried out and praised the “essential research” they carried out in recent months.

Guterres “accepts the recommendations” contained in the report, which gives rise to an “action plan” that he will coordinate with UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini.

The UN leader “expects donors, host countries and workers to fully cooperate in implementing the recommendations”, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson, in which he insists on the need to “actively” support the UN’s work. UNRWA, which continues to be “a lifeline for Palestinian refugees in the region”.

In contrast to several countries that suspended contributions to this organization, Portugal announced, in March, a reinforcement of 10 million euros, which were added to the extraordinary support of four million euros, at the end of 2023, and another million , at the beginning of this year.

UNRWA is considered the “backbone” of humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip, where more than 34,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israeli military operations in retaliation for the Hamas attack on October 7, which made around 1,200 dead and 250 hostages.

[Notícia atualizada às 18h42]

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Source: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/2546288/investigacao-exclui-provas-de-ligacoes-terroristas-de-funcionarios-da-onu

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